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Agriculture investment plan launches Wednesday

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Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has said it would hasten implementation of the recently developed National Agriculture Investment Plan to guide sector players in directing their resources systematically.

In a response to an emailed questionnaire, Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Mwanamvekha, said the investment plan, which supersedes the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (Aswap) would be launched tomorrow.

Late last year, the ministry and other key stakeholders developed the plan, which intends to improve the agriculture’s input to the economy.

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Among other things, the blueprint was crafted to address inefficiencies in public service delivery in the agriculture sector and create room for structured investment by private sector players.

Priority areas include mechanisation, inter-ministerial coordination, inclusive investment and commercialisation.

Mwanamvekha said the plan would act as the main investment framework for the agriculture sector for the next five years.

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He conceded that the agriculture’s contribution to the country’s economic growth and development is below potential, hence, need for revitalisation.

Mwanamvekha, among others factors, attributed the situation to lack of clear policy positions on certain issues within the sector, continued use of primitive agricultural production technologies, climate change, low levels of irrigation development and commercial agriculture.

“After the National Agriculture Investment Plan is launched, it is anticipated that implementation would immediately commence.

“After five years of its implementation, it is expected that the plan will improve policy and the regulatory environment, stakeholder coordination and accountability, strengthen resilience of livelihoods and natural base for agriculture, increase production and productivity of a more diversified agriculture sector; and enhance market access, value addition, trade and access to finance,” Mwanamvekha said.

He said the government was mindful of both national and international policy frameworks and commitments when developing the plan.

According to Mwanamvekha, the outline has been premised on the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III, which categorises agriculture, water development and climate change among key priority areas.

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